Brian Paone was born and raised in the Salem, Massachusetts area. Brian has, thus far, published five novels: Dreams Are Unfinished Thoughts—a memoir about being friends with a drug-addicted rock star; Welcome to Parkview—a macabre cerebral-horror novel; Yours Truly, 2095—a time-travel romance novel (which was suggested for a Hugo Award, though it did not make the finalists); and Moonlight City Drive Part 1 & 2—a supernatural crime-noir detective trilogy (with Part 3 coming in 2021).
Brian currently lives in Monterey, CA with his wife—a US Naval Officer—and their four children. He is a retired police officer and worked in law enforcement for sixteen years from 2002 – 2018.
Tell me about your writing process: schedule, environment, inspirations, etc.
I’ve published 4 novels, and my typical day during the writing of each book was totally different from each other.
When I was writing my first book, Dreams Are Unfinished Thoughts, I was in the middle of moving from MA to GA, changing police departments, and recording an album with my band, Transpose. So, a typical day would be: getting everything done first for the move, switching jobs, the recording studio, and whatever time was left at night: working on the book. We also didn’t have any kids yet.
With my second novel, Welcome to Parkview, my wife had been deployed to Djibouti and I was working full time at the police department in GA, and we had 2 kids now. So, I was alone without my wife, with 2 toddlers, and working full time. My day would be: getting the kids to day-care, go work fighting crime for 8 hours, picking the kids up and doing whatever household chores I had to do (laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping etc.), feeding the kids dinner and putting them to bed around 6:30, then I would work out for an hour, and then I would work on Welcome to Parkview after I showered until whenever I passed out at my laptop.
With my third novel, Yours Truly. 2095, the Navy had sent us to Japan for the next 4 years. I had to take a leave of absence at the police department, and we moved the family there. I did not get a job right away, as my wife wanted me to be the stay at home parent during our time in Japan (I did eventually become a Criminal Justice professor for the college on base, but that’s irrelevant to the book.) We moved in November 2011 and by January 2012 I was itching to write. For the first time, I had the TIME to write, and not having to worry about a new job, moving, or wiping poopy diapers. So, in February 2012, I started my outline, and writing the book was my full-time job for a while. We sent our 2 kids to Japanese Kindergarten (called a Yochien in Japan) and they were gone Monday through Friday from 9:00 to 4:00. I would bring them to the bus stop, wave goodbye, go back up into our apartment, and write until the bus brought them back. It was the first time I could write without distractions, and the first time I was writing not being dead-tired at night after putting in a full day.
Moonlight City Drive (2017, my 4th novel) was the first book where I had a legit writing office. When we moved from Japan to North Carolina, one of the stipulations my wife had on finding a new house was that it would have a writing office for me. One with doors. And a writing desk. And I could decorate it any way I wanted. So that novel was written, for the first time, in a closed-off environment from the distractions of the outside world (and that includes the kids, TV, and normal household noise.) Moonlight City Drive 2 (2019) and my WIP (release schedule Jan 2020) were/are being written here in Monterey, CA where we live now. I have a writing office, but it does not have doors that can keep the outside word, well, outside. So, it’s been slightly more daunting to write while we’ve been here. We are moving to Virginia in April, and it appears I should have a proper writing office again there (a room with doors, halleluiah). So what I have learned is that I can certainly write in a space that is not segregated from the rest of the house, but I am far more productive when I have a written office where there is a piece of glass or a slab of wood separating me from the real world.
Walk me through your publishing process from “final” draft to final product, including who does what when, and marketing that you do as the author.
Every author must find what works for them, so this is less a “how to” answer and more of a “what I do” answer. I start with a super loose outline. My outline may only plot points A, D, G etc because I like to pants points B, C, E, F, H etc. After some semblance of an outline is finished, I write only 2 drafts. First draft is off the cuff, using the outline as a road map. Second draft is my polishing and rewrite any scenes that aren’t working. Then it goes to my editor, Denise Barker. What I receive back is the 3rd and final draft. Then Kari Holloway starts formatting it for publishing, while Amy Hunter and/or Kyle Lechner work on the book cover and any chapter heading illustrations that will be included. After it’s published, I will run some pretty hefty ads on Facebook (targeting very specific audiences) and Amazon.
Talk about your support system online and IRL, especially your biggest cheerleaders.
The Facebook group that I founded in 2016, Fiction Writing, even though is 90k+ members now, we still have a “small community” feel, and I’d like to think we are ALL in each other’s corners. However, my wife is my #1 fan but my biggest critic.
How does life influence your writing and vice versa, including founding and maintaining a publishing company and a Facebook writers group?
I would say music influences my writing more than life. Writing is my escape, and even though I write about very human things, I tend to completely remove myself from real life when I write. My publishing company, Scout Media, has been around since 2013, and we were told by many people that we were going to fail and wouldn’t survive. Funny because almost everyone who said that have closed their doors and no longer exist as presses. I run the company the same way I treat my family: respectful, nurturing, and wanting the best for all parties involved.
What do you love most about your creativity?I love being able to take a few lines of lyric from a favorite song and watch an entire rt or chapter of a novel grow from it.
I love being able to take a few lines of lyric from a favorite song and watch an entire short story or chapter of a novel grow from it.
Author Extra: I know you’re reticent to discuss it, but we’d all like to hear about your DeLorean! You’re the only person I know who owns one, and I followed her progress on the way to her new home. Plus, as a Gen X, I love that movie and MJF.
Ha! Yep, it’s been a lifelong dream of mine, and after about 15 years of serious and hardcore searching, I found one for sale in Michigan, within my price range. The day will live in infamy. It was January 31, 2019. My wife had come home from work and was brushing her teeth, getting ready for bed. I explained I had found a DeLorean for sale in MI, and her reply was that if I had enough money in my book royalty account to pay for it, then make the call in the morning. And I did. So, for all of you out there who have your sights set on a lifelong dream, just know that little ol’ me was able to pay CASH for a 1981 DeLorean with only 17,500 miles on it, 100% from book royalty money from the previous 2 years of sales.
Connect with Brian: